Nights Away Permit Scheme

Nights Away Permit Scheme

As leaders we all understand that camping and similar residential events are among the most popular and most rewarding of activities we can offer in Scouting.

What is the Nights Away Permit Scheme?

The nights away permit scheme is an internal Scouting assessment scheme designed to ensure that all those leading nights away events for young people within Scouting have the skills, experience and personal suitability to do so.

Any leaders wishing to take their kids away for an over night event must hold a permit for the type of event they are running. The Scheme locally is administered through a number of appointed assessors (Nights Away Advisors or NAAs) making recommendations to the DC on the type of permit to be issued.

What do I need to attain a Nights Away Permit?

There are no pre requisites to gaining a permit nor do you need one to gain your Wood Badge.

What skills/abilities are assessed?

  1. Technical competence – Looks at the skill areas required to run a successful night’s away event. Assessment is carried out by a NAA;
  2. Knowledge of pertinent rules – Looks at whether the applicant is aware of the guidance for running a night’s away event within Scouting. Again assessment is by the NAA;
  3. Child Protection – carried out by the DC, this ensures the necessary checks are in place for all adults attending and there is an awareness of child protection issues from the applicant; and
  4. Personal suitability – again carried out by the DC and checks the suitability of the applicant to lead night’s away events.

How do I apply?

To apply for a nights away permit you will need to contact your nights away adviser. Below is an application form that you can attach to emails or print out and fill in by hand.

Okay I’ve gained my permit what next?

Once a leader has gained his/her permit, they are free to organise night’s away event as they require. In advance of the event, simply complete a Nights Away Notification (NAN) form and forward to the DC.

NAN form (.doc) 

How long does a permit run for?

Permits currently have a 5 year currency and they are not automatically renewed. Renewal is carried out by one of our Nights Away Advisors. It is up to each Leader to ensure his / her permit is current and valid.

Who are the District’s Nights Away Advisors? 

Margaret Irwin (Beavers) –

Andrew Stacey (All Sections) –

John Clarke (All Sections) –

What type of Nights Away Permit can be obtained?

Indoor site – Any building that has toilets plumbed into a waste disposal system and access to running drinking water;

Camp site – camping on any sites where there are toilets, water and waste disposal facilities;

Green Field site – staying at any site where none of the above facilities exist e.g. camping on a farmer’s field; and

Light weight Expedition – staying at any site for not more than one night before moving on. The core activity is a form of expedition and not a residential activity and all the equipment is transported with the participants. E.g. Queens Scout Award / Duke of Ed hikes, canoe expeditions.

Event passports

To encourage young people led residential events such as Patrol Camps or Explorer Scout expeditions, a night’s away permit holder can grant a nights away passport to an under 18 year old. This will be done after a check on the young person’s knowledge and ability to lead the event by the permit holder. It allows our young people to lead residential events without leaders being present and each passport lasts for a single event only.  The DC should be made aware of all such passports issued and the context of the event prior to their approval and issue.

Are Permits portable?

Anybody holding a Green Field Permit may lead events in the other three categories. Those holding a Camp Site Permit may also run indoor residential events. Where a leader has a Hill Walking Permit that includes lightweight camping in remote areas, they can run Light weight expedition events. Nights Away Permits are not section specific. 

What about International or overseas camps?

Leaders wishing to hold conduct a Camp outside of the UK for those less than 18 years of age must hold the appropriate category of Nights Away permit. Also you will need to complete a Form PC (Abroad) for the trip well beforehand. The links to the relevant fact sheets will provide further information

Copies of the PC (Abroad) form can be obtained from the District Commissioner.

Is there any further guidance or information available on the Nights Away Permit process?          

Yes – please click on the document below and access at your leisure. Further information is also available from any of the District Nights Away Advisers or from the DC.  

FS120800 – Nights Away Permit Scheme – General Background. This factsheet provides a general overview to the Nights Away Permit Scheme.
FS120801 – Nights Away Permit Scheme – Applicants guide. This factsheet provides a guide to leaders who wish to gain a Nights Away Permit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the link above to access this easy to read section. If your question can’t be answered here just contact one of our advisors or the DC